Alexander McQueen presented its fall 2016 collection for men on Sunday in London, and to modernize Creative Director Sarah Burton's take on sharply tailored garments inspired by the military and Victorian era, a few of the models donned layered necklaces, metal body harnesses and — ouch! — safety pins "pierced" through their cheeks. The faux (but painful) look, which was attached by a thin chain to a small studded hoop earring, is the newest iteration of the industry's love for piercings.
While much of the fashion set looks to pros like J. Colby Smith for delicate ear and nose piercings, designers have turned it up a notch during their fashion shows in recent seasons. An avid fan of this body modification type, Riccardo Tisci accessorized models with a statement septum ring back as early as 2012 for his spring couture show. (Karl Lagerfeld also chose elaborate nose piercings for Chanel's pre-fall 2012 collection, which was inspired by Bombay and presented in Paris.) Fast forward three years and Givenchy's fall 2015 show featured models with multiple nose rings and glued-on jewels on up to six different facial points. Last September, during the label's special spring 2016 runway show in New York City, Tisci and makeup guru Pat McGrath adorned models' entire faces with embellishments that ran the gamut from pearls and lace to jewels and beads. Those that were spared the facial treatment wore faux piercings on the bridge of their noses instead.
Other labels have taken note of Tisci's play on piercings, too. Kate and Laura Mulleavy enhanced models' eyebrows with rows of tiny hoop earrings for Rodarte's spring 2015 runway show in New York, while Dries Van Noten followed up in Paris with its faux-piercing beauty look: A gold metallic line drawn down the middle of the bottom lip to resemble a lip ring. Alongside fashion's obsession with tattoos — yep, designers have dabbled in facial ink, too — piercings surely rank just as high.
Ears, noses, lips and cheeks — have fashion designers reached peak facial piercings? The septum ring has already flooded the mainstream, gracing the covers of W and T Magazines (by Rihanna), i-D (thanks to FKA Twigs) and Nylon (starring Zoe Kravitz). And let's not forget Kendall Jenner's experimentation with a traditional wedding nose ring for Coachella. But where else can this look really go from here? Options of places to pierce seem to be running out — and honestly, the idea is starting to feel a bit played out.
Homepage image: Alexander McQueen's men's fall 2016 show in London. Photo: Tristan Fewings/Getty Images